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Weight Management

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Engage in Life

For individuals who struggle to maintain a healthy body weight, it can feel like life is passing them by. They may isolate from friends or family or withdraw from participating in activities due to their concern over their weight, or physical limitations. Obesity is a disability which inhibits individuals from fully engaging in relationships, physical activities, career opportunities, and enjoying a long healthy life. Aside from the physical symptoms associated with obesity, the resulting mental and emotional toll can be equally devastating. Depression, anxiety, personality disorders, sleep issues, and suicidal thoughts and actions may result from untreated obesity. Relationships and financial stability are also negatively impacted.

Obesity is a chronic and progressive disease affecting the health of 42% of Americans. It is a leading cause of death due to its pervasive and destructive impact on bodily systems. A diagnosis of obesity is usually determined by a medical doctor who will assess a patient's BMI, waist circumference, and associated health issues. 

There has been debate whether counting calories and exercise is a long-term solution for individuals struggling with chronic obesity. For some, weight-loss diets and exercise is an adequate solution. For many others, underlying, untreated mental health issues create a cycle of defeat.

Counseling & weight management

If you have tried to lose weight in the past without success, it could be that there are other issues impacting your ability to maintain a healthy body size. Past trauma, current poor habits, or chronic life stressors may be creating an environment which is not conducive to mindful self care. Speaking with a counselor can bring clarity to hidden patterns which work against a goal of health and wellbeing. In therapy, individuals find a safe space to investigate triggers and dysfunctional habits and learn to incorporate changes to diet and mindset which supports a healthy lifestyle.

There may also be complicating medical factors which create roadblocks to achieving a healthy body. These should be investigated by visiting a family doctor or specialist. 

Food Addiction

In the past 30 years the idea that an individual can be addicted to food, much like any other addict to their drug of choice, has gained broader acceptance. 

Are you a food addict?

  1. Have you ever wanted to stop eating and found you just couldn't?
  2. Do you constantly think about food or your weight?
  3. Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting success?
  4. Do you binge and then "get rid of the binge" through vomiting, exercise, laxatives, or other forms of purging?
  5. Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
  6. Has a doctor or a family member ever approached you with concern about your eating habits or weight?
  7. Do you eat large quantities of food at one time (binge)?
  8. Is your weight problem due to your "nibbling" all day long?
  9. Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
  10. Do you eat when you're not hungry?
  11. Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve and eat it later?
  12. Do you eat in secret?
  13. Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake?
  14. Have you ever stolen other people's food?
  15. Have you ever hidden food to make sure you will have "enough?"
  16. Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight?
  17. Do you obsessively calculate the calories you've burned against the calories you've eaten?
  18. Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you've eaten?
  19. Are you waiting for your life to begin "when you lose the weight?"
  20. Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food?

(from Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous)

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be struggling with food addiction. You are not alone and there is help.

Support groups, books, and 12-Step recovery programs have provided relief and healing to many individuals struggling with food addiction. Some support programs are free and connect new members with sponsors to support them on their journey. Meetings are available online or in person depending on the location.

One such group is Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. If you think you or a loved one may be struggling with food addiction, we encourage you to check out their website to learn more.

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